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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL Draft prospect Jadeveon Clowney has “signed an endorsement deal with Puma,” according to Darren Rovell of Terms of the deal “were not disclosed.” However, because Puma “doesn't have a deal with the NFL, Clowney can't wear cleats with the Puma logo on the field.” Clowney will be a “big part of the company's upcoming marketing plans.” Puma North America President & GM Jay Piccola said, “He represents everything we are and the consumer we are trying to attract.” Rovell noted Clowney is Puma's “only signee for this year's draft class.” Meanwhile, Nike confirmed yesterday it had “signed all the top quarterbacks in the draft,” including Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater. Nike also signed WR Mike Evans, WR Odell Beckham Jr., LB Anthony Barr and TE Eric Ebron. Under Armour “confirmed it had signed” WR Marqise Lee, TE Jace Amaro, RB Andre Williams and DE Dee Ford. adidas “confirmed that its endorsers for this draft include” WR Sammy Watkins and RB Carlos Hyde (, 5/7).

JOHNNY LOGO:’s Bryan Fischer wrote Manziel is “joining rare company by having his own personalized logo.” Well, “actually two.” Both are “clean and fairly simple while sporting Manziel's famous No. 2.” Although the trademark applications were filed earlier this year, the designs surfacing right before the draft are “merely the latest marketing news to pop up surrounding Manziel” (, 5/7). NBCSN's Erik Kuselias said Manziel has "football ability, he has cache, he brings a certain marketability as well -- we're talking about tickets sales, jersey sales -- so are there owners who could be tempted by dollars signs and marketability more than football ability and force their GM to take Manziel?" ("PFT," NBCSN, 5/6).

The National Guard spent $26.5M to sponsor Hendrick Motorsports' NASCAR team in '12 to "bolster its marketing and recruitment but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks," according to data cited in a front-page piece by Tom Vanden Brook of USA TODAY. Even though the Guard spent $88M as a sponsor of HMS from '11-13, it is "unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it, according to documents." The Guard yesterday "would not confirm the figures on prospects and recruits developed through its NASCAR sponsorship." U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today is holding a hearing on the Guard's motorsports sponsorships, which also includes a $38M spend in IndyCar from '11-13. McCaskill said the Guard was "wasting a bunch of money on a very expensive sports sponsorship." Documents show the Guard in '12 received 24,800 recruiting prospects who "indicated the NASCAR affiliation prompted them to seek information on joining." But "only 20 met the Guard's qualifications," and "none joined." Briefing materials for today's hearing showed that the number of prospects associated with NASCAR in '13 dropped to 7,500. The Guard's deal with Hendrick was for 20 races a season (USA TODAY, 5/8).

Retail chain Belk today is expected to announce that it has agreed to be an official sponsor of the SEC and ESPN’s SEC Network, which launches Aug. 14. The new six-year relationship gives Belk the status of official retail department store of the SEC, with marketing rights to the conference's championship events. Belk also will receive exposure on the network’s new cable channel and digital platforms. ESPN, the rights holder for the SEC and owner of the SEC Network, sold the marketing and media deal. The deal with the SEC and ESPN extends Belk’s marketing presence in the college space. The department store, which has 300 locations across 16 Southern states, is the largest family-owned and operated department store in the nation. Belk has been title sponsor of the Charlotte-based bowl game for the past three seasons and beginning this season, that game will feature a matchup of an SEC team against an ACC opponent. Belk Exec VP/Marketing Jon Pollack said, “We know that collegiate sports are an important part of the Southern lifestyle."  ESPN has already announced deals with Regions Bank and Dr Pepper that combine sponsorship with the SEC and the SEC Network.'s Darren Rovell reports the Patriots will become the "first NFL team to offer a jersey rebate if a fan purchases a jersey of a player who is no longer under contract within a year of that jersey being bought." The team this morning sent an e-mail of the "Jersey Guarantee" to fans on its mailing list. If a fan purchases a jersey from "either the team website or stadium store, and the player whose name on the back leaves the team within a year of purchase, that fan will receive a 25 percent discount toward the price of the next Patriots jersey they buy." The fan has "two months from the day the player is no longer under contract to make the new purchase with the discount" (, 5/8).

Much of Gulbis' image is about her sex appeal, but
she has her peers' respect on the course
NO CONTRADICTION: GOLF WORLD's Michael Arkush wrote much of the image of golfer Natalie Gulbis "is about her sex appeal." But what "might be a bit of a shock is how this image, and the way her career has been cultivated, doesn't bother her LPGA peers." Some LPGA players were upset when Golf Digest placed a "provocatively posed Paulina Gretzky" on its May cover, but when it comes to Gulbis, there is "no contradiction -- at least as the players view it." Golfer Stacy Lewis said of Gulbis, "She's a golfer. She's one of us." Gulbis has "a lot left to accomplish, such as promoting the tour," but LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan "raves at the effort that she makes with sponsors" (GOLF WORLD, 5/12 issue). 

FIGHT CLUB:'s Marc Raimondi wrote neither Georges St-Pierre nor Stephan Bonnar "are fighting in the UFC at the moment," but St-Pierre appears in a new NOS energy drink ad, while Bonnar endorses Xyience energy drink in a "funny parody of ridiculous spots that MMA fighters star in, specifically those from Metro PCS." Bonnar in the Xyience spot "gets a new wardrobe, goes tanning and frosts his tips." He is "moving to Metro ... sexual" (, 5/6). 

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